'Do you Four': Jenna Fischer wrapping up six years with Blue Jays
Jenna Fischer has been a staple in Jamestown High School athletics for nearly six years.
Head coaches are trained to spot potential in athletes, and Mike Soulis put his training to good use when Jenna Fischer stepped onto the Jamestown High School softball scene six years ago.
"She just had something about her that I thought was special and she's proven herself time and again with how good of a softball player she is," Soulis, the head coach for the Blue Jay softball team said. "She's just a great kid and almost like a second daughter."
Fischer is one of four seniors on the Jamestown High School softball team who is wrapping up her high school career this weekend at the 2022 Class A State Tournament.
The Jays defeated West Fargo 4-2 in the opening round of the tournament on June 2. Jamestown faced Dickinson in the state semifinals Friday evening. Final stats were not available when the Jamestown Sun went to press.
"I'm feeling good about playing West Fargo again. We had a great two games when we faced them earlier and if we keep the momentum I'm excited to see what we can do again," Fischer said. "Soulis always tells me to 'do you four' which I take as a way of him telling me to relax, be confident and just do what I do best.
"Honestly, I’m most excited that (State) is on our home field. I think the atmosphere is going to be amazing with the community cheering us on."
As of June 3, Fischer was holding the second-best batting average on the Blue Jays' squad, going .398 at the plate. The senior catcher holds a .765 slugging percentage. She has hit six of the Jays' 29 home runs to lead the Jays and has driven in 31 runs.
"Jenna is consistent in what she has done and she's familiar to our pitchers and they know what they are throwing to and that makes them a little bit better," Soulis said. "We talk a lot about Jenna's offensive stats but her arm and ability to throw out runners and stuff like that gives us confidence because we have a catcher that can throw them out."
Fischer started playing softball around 8 years old with a bunch of her friends back in 2012. She also began playing volleyball around 10 years ago.
"I’ve always been very passionate about softball," Fischer said. "It’s just always clicked for me and I think it’s the atmosphere and competitiveness, I grew up playing with all these girls who make the game so much more enjoyable as well.
"Blue Jay athletics have given me some of the best relationships a girl could ask for."
Even in her near-decade of playing sports for the Blue Jays, Fischer said a memory that has been burned into her brain came seven days ago.
"I honestly think a memory that will last with me forever is that state qualifier game just last weekend," Fischer said. "The feeling of getting that last strikeout and the excitement of the whole team, parents and fans was just unmatched."
Fischer's prep career will officially come to an end at the conclusion of the 2022 State Softball Tournament, but she will have a few more games before she hangs up the cleats for good.
Fischer was the only member of the 2022 Blue Jay roster to be named to the 2022 Scheels Softball All-Star Series.
Senior student-athletes across the state are originally nominated by their own head softball coach. From there, a pool of candidates is voted on by all-region coaches. In Class B, regions 1 and 2 and regions 3 and 4 were combined for voting this year.
"I was very surprised and extremely honored to be named to play in the games," Fischer said. "Personally, I don't feel nervous in any way. I think it’s gonna be a couple of competitive games to end my senior year and I think it will be a great experience to play with others selected to the team and see who settles the tie between the east and the west.
"It’s a chance to play the game I love with and against the best in the state with no pressure but just a fun rivalry between the west and east."
The games are scheduled to run on June 6 at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. at Bismarck Legacy High School. Day two of the series will be played at Central Cass High School on June 7 with a skills competition at 4 p.m. and a game at 6 p.m.
Dickinson will be represented by Mataya Mortenson and Taya Hopfauf while Legacy's Tori Olson, Mandan's Andi Borchers and Brooklyn Morris of Century will be the lone reps for their high schools.
Class A's section of the West roster is rounded out by Bismarck High's Ashlee Potter and Logan Gronberg.
Soulis said one of the reasons Fischer has been so effective behind the plate is the reps she has taken throughout the spring and summer seasons and her coachability.
JHS head volleyball coach Sara Hegerle also spoke of Fischer's coachable and 'willing-to-do-anything-for-the-team' mentality as Fischer was moved from a right-side hitter back to libero for the Blue Jay volleyball team last fall.
"Jenna played every position for us in volleyball," Hegerle said. "She was a setter, hitter, serving specialist and finished as a defensive player. That shows what kind of athlete she is. (She's one) who works hard at being the best she can be for her team.
"Jenna was picked as libero this past year because she has good leadership qualities."
In the Blue Jays' 18 regular-season games, Fischer turned in a total of 247 digs — averaging 13.72 per match. The senior added on another 28 more in the Jays' two West Region Tournament matches and was a big contributor in getting the Blue Jays to the gold bracket of the 2021 Fargo Scheels Tournament in early October.
Fischer also was responsible for 25 service aces served across 20 games. Fischer has been a part of the Blue Jay varsity volleyball team since she was a sophomore.
"Jenna stands out from others with her positive attitude," Hegerle said. "She works hard and has a friendly and happy disposition all of the time. She catches you right away with her big smile. She has had that same smile since she was a little bugger.
"The world is a better place because of Jenna Fischer. She going to be successful in anything she puts her heart into because that’s the way she was raised."
"Does she have the ability to play at the next level? By far. I've told other coaches that she's not playing and they kind of shake their heads and can't really believe it.
"We know that sports at the next level is a little bit more of a commitment and right now, Jenna's commitment is to be a good student. I respect that and whatever she chooses to do in college and after school — she's going to be unbelievable at."
Fischer is set to head to the University of North Dakota this fall to pursue a degree in pre-physical therapy. While she has not officially committed to play softball for the Fighting Hawks, Fischer said she is still considering the possibility of walking on.
"I have so much care for all of the kids who have played for me but as you are around somebody and you see them grow and develop and see the success that she's had — there's something special there," Soulis said. "There's a lot of parts to why I came back and she's definitely one of them. It's going to be pretty difficult this weekend when it's over."
"She's been a fixture in Blue Jay softball since she was a seventh grader. People look up to her. We are going to miss having that security behind the plate. I can't put into words who she is — I'm going to miss her."